The HP Compaq dc5800 Small Form Factor PC is encased in a narrow, gray metallic case - not very stylish but acceptable for an office.

It is visibly slimmer and smaller than a mainstream home desktop. The HP Compaq dc5800 can either be placed upright or on its side, depending on available space. Next to the optical drive at the front, there's a grilled cooling vent with an HP logo.

To open its casing's side cover, place the HP Compaq dc5800 on its side, and press the two latches on either side. HP does a good job here with a well laid out board, with enough signage around to help you while handling its innards. Green stickers with arrows tell you its optical drive tray, SMPS, and hard drive tray are hinged and can be opened for greater accessibility.

Cable clutter inside computer cabinets can lead to dust accumulation and poor ventilation. But there is no cable clutter to speak of in the HP Compaq dc5800, no haphazard crisscross of wires - cables are directed neatly through one side of the motherboard or the other, which doesn't obstruct while servicing the RAM or hard drive (for eg). It also has a cabinet lock to prevent unauthorized access inside.

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The HP Compaq dc5800 is powered off an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.8GHz processor, 2GB of DDR2 RAM, and a 160GB (7200rpm) hard drive. It has a DVD writer, gigabit ethernet, eight USB ports, PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, and a VGA port. We like that HP still includes a parallel port on the dc5800's back panel, which comes in handy if you have an old printer lying around. Not just the abundance of ports, but their placement is well thought out, too. Two USB ports, a headphone and audio jack on the front panel makes the job of plugging in a pair of earphones or a USB drive a lot more comfortable than fumbling around on the back panel.

It comes with Windows Vista Business downgraded to Windows XP Pro by default, so you have the flexibility of choosing between them. On the security front, the HP Compaq dc5800 comes with an onboard Trusted Platform Module or TPM chip. TPM helps encrypt your data at the hardware level.

Packed with a decently fast processor, a fast hard drive, and adequate RAM, the HP Compaq dc5800 notched up a score of 107 on WorldBench 6 - a decent score for a budget desktop PC, let alone a business PC. At this level, all your basic office computing needs - working on productivity suites, browsing the web, listening to music, email, etc - are easily taken care of. In terms of power usage, it is in line with other business desktops in the market. Throughout our testing, the HP Compaq dc5800 didn't unduly overheat and ran relatively quiet.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

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HP Compaq dc5800: Specs

  • Intel Core 2 Duo (E8400) 3.0GHz 6144KB (L2 Cache), Intel Q33 Express
  • Integrated Network
  • Integrated Audio, VGA
  • 2048MB (8192MB) PC2-6400 800MHz DDR2 RAM
  • 500GB (1x 500GB) 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • D
  • 15-pin D-Sub
  • 8 x USB 2.0 (2 Front + 6 Rear)
  • Line-In/Line-Out
  • ADI 1884 sound card
  • Intel 82562 Ethernet 10/100/1000Mbps
  • Intel Graphics GMA 3100 256MB
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Business
  • 100 to 240VAC/50 to 60Hz
  • 176x428x377mm
  • 8.9kg
  • Intel Core 2 Duo (E8400) 3.0GHz 6144KB (L2 Cache), Intel Q33 Express
  • Integrated Network
  • Integrated Audio, VGA
  • 2048MB (8192MB) PC2-6400 800MHz DDR2 RAM
  • 500GB (1x 500GB) 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • D
  • 15-pin D-Sub
  • 8 x USB 2.0 (2 Front + 6 Rear)
  • Line-In/Line-Out
  • ADI 1884 sound card
  • Intel 82562 Ethernet 10/100/1000Mbps
  • Intel Graphics GMA 3100 256MB
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Business
  • 100 to 240VAC/50 to 60Hz
  • 176x428x377mm
  • 8.9kg

OUR VERDICT

Desktops for businesses are a different ball game than home desktops. Things like data security and power efficiency, not to mention design form factor take precedent over other aspects. The HP Compaq dc5800 delivers on its claim of a slim mainstream business desktop, and its performance is very good. But it doesn't come with a monitor, and we feel it's slightly overpriced (although if you shop around there are deals to be done).

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